Ron Clark

Writer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In this two-hour Archive interview, Ron Clark talks about his early life and his time in Canada as a writer for stand-up comics. He describes his big break writing for The Jimmy Dean Show, which featured Jim Henson's Muppets. He recounts writing for several other shows following that period including The Jackie Gleason Show, The Steve Allen Comedy Hour, and The Danny Kaye Show. Clark details his time writing for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and recalls many aspects of that show including his relationship with stars Tom and Dick Smothers, and the censorship battles the show endured with the network. He speaks of leaving the Smothers Brothers to write for Kraft Music Hall, followed by The Tim Conway Comedy Hour, That Girl, Hot L Baltimore, Ace Crawford, Private Eye, Silver Spoons and Moonlighting. He talks about his friendship and collaborations with comedy icons Mel Brooks and Peter Sellers, and concludes by discussing professional achievements and giving advice for aspiring writers. Stephen J. Abramson conducted the interview in a joint venture with the Writers Guild Foundation on November 23, 2015 in Los Angeles, CA.

"I would tell a writer to be as original and talented as you might want to be, but you also have to get a little lucky here and there. There are just times when things open up at the right place at the right time. Keep writing and try to get lucky is my advice."

Highlights
Ron Clark on working with Tom and Dick Smothers on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour  and the censorship the show faced
02:19
Ron Clark on working with Jackie Mason in the '80s
04:04
Ron Clark on writing for The Tim Conway Comedy Hour
06:14
Ron Clark on writing for The Jackie Gleason Show
05:43
Ron Clark on advice to an aspiring television writer
01:49
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on deciding he wanted to be a writer
On selling jokes to various stand-up comedians; on his comedy albums; on his education and going to the movies in Canada
On early television work writing for cartoons; on writing for The Jimmy Dean  Show and working with Jim Henson and the Muppets; on working with producer Bob Banner on The Jimmy Dean Show
On writing for The Jackie Gleason Show; on writing for The Steve Allen Comedy Hour; on writing for The Danny Kaye Show and The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour

Chapter 2

On working with Tom and Dick Smothers on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and the censorship the show faced; on the guests of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and the behind the scenes roles of Tom and Dick Smothers; on writing the sketches for the show including for cast member Pat Paulson
On The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour tackling current events and the language on the show; on the legacy of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour; on his writing partner Sam Bobrick
On writing for Kraft Music Hall; on writing for The Tim Conway Comedy Hour; on writing for The Paul Lynde Show and That Girl
On writing for Hot L Baltimore; on writing for Ace Crawford, Private Eye; on writing for Silver Spoons and Moonlighting
On working with Ed. Weinberger; on working with Mel Brooks on the feature "Silent Movie"

Chapter 3

On working with Alan King and working on various Mel Brooks films; on working with Blake Edwards and Peter Sellers on "Revenge of the Pink Panther"; on his writing process
On his experience with the Writers Guild; on mentors in his career; on professional achievements and his regrets, advice to aspiring writers, and how he'd like to be remembered
Shows

Ace Crawford, Private Eye

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Ron Clark on writing for Ace Crawford, Private Eye
02:47

Danny Kaye Show, The

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Ron Clark on writing for The Danny Kaye Show
02:33

Hot L Baltimore

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Ron Clark on writing for Hot L Baltimore 
01:47

Jackie Gleason Show, The

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Ron Clark on writing for The Jackie Gleason Show
05:43

Jimmy Dean Show, The

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Ron Clark on writing for The Jimmy Dean Show and working with Jim Henson and the Muppets
06:53
Ron Clark on working with producer Bob Banner on The Jimmy Dean Show
00:35

Kraft Music Hall, The

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Ron Clark on writing for Kraft Music Hall
03:29

Moonlighting

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Ron Clark on writing for Moonlighting
03:34

Silver Spoons

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Ron Clark on writing for Silver Spoons
02:33

Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, The

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Ron Clark on writing for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
08:03
Ron Clark on working with Tom and Dick Smothers on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and the censorship the show faced
02:19
Ron Clark on the guests of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and the behind the scenes roles of Tom and Dick Smothers
02:00
Ron Clark on writing the sketches for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour including for cast member Pat Paulson 
02:45
Ron Clark on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour tackling current events and the language on the show
05:12
Ron Clark on the legacy of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
00:41

Steve Allen Comedy Hour, The

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Ron Clark on writing for The Steve Allen Comedy Hour
01:01

Tim Conway Comedy Hour, The

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Ron Clark on writing for The Tim Conway Comedy Hour
06:14
Topics

Advice

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Ron Clark on advice to an aspiring television writer
01:49

Censorship / Standards & Practices

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Ron Clark on working with Tom and Dick Smothers on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour  and the censorship the show faced
02:19
Ron Clark on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour  tackling current events and the language on the show
05:13

Creative Influences and Inspiration

View Topic
Ron Clark on mentors in his career
02:01

Television Industry

View Topic
Ron Clark on working with Tom and Dick Smothers on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour  and the censorship the show faced
02:19
Ron Clark on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour  tackling current events and the language on the show
05:13
Ron Clark on advice to an aspiring television writer
01:49
Professions

Writers

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Ron Clark on his writing process
05:50
Ron Clark on advice to an aspiring television writer
01:49
Genres

Comedy Series

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Ron Clark on writing for Hot L Baltimore 
01:47
Ron Clark on writing for Ace Crawford, Private Eye 
02:47
Ron Clark on writing for Silver Spoons
02:33
Ron Clark on writing for Moonlighting
03:34

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

View Genre
Ron Clark on writing for The Jimmy Dean Show
11:31
Ron Clark on writing for The Jackie Gleason Show
05:43
Ron Clark on writing for The Steve Allen Comedy Hour
01:01
Ron Clark on writing for The Danny Kaye Show
02:33
Ron Clark on writing for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
08:03
Ron Clark on writing for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour  
12:58
Ron Clark on writing for Kraft Music Hall
03:29
Ron Clark on writing for The Tim Conway Comedy Hour
06:14
People

Steve Allen

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Ron Clark on writing for The Steve Allen Comedy Hour
01:01

Bob Banner

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Ron Clark on working with producer Bob Banner on The Jimmy Dean Show
00:35

Mel Brooks

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Ron Clark on working with Mel Brooks on the feature "Silent Movie" 
04:02
Ron Clark on working on various Mel Brooks films
03:00

Tim Conway

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Ron Clark on writing for The Tim Conway Comedy Hour  
06:14
Ron Clark on writing for Ace Crawford, Private Eye  starring Tim Conway
02:47

Jimmy Dean

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Ron Clark on writing for The Jimmy Dean Show and working with Jim Henson and the Muppets
06:53

Blake Edwards

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Ron Clark on working with Blake Edwards and Peter Sellers on "Revenge of the Pink Panther"
03:31

Jackie Gleason

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Ron Clark on writing for The Jackie Gleason Show
05:43

Jim Henson

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Ron Clark on writing for The Jimmy Dean Show and working with Jim Henson and the Muppets
06:53

Danny Kaye

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Ron Clark on writing for The Danny Kaye Show
02:33

Alan King

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Ron Clark on working with Alan King
01:37

Paul Lynde

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Ron Clark on writing for The Paul Lynde Show
01:19

Jackie Mason

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Ron Clark on working with Jackie Mason in the '80s
04:04

Peter Sellers

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Ron Clark on working with Blake Edwards and Peter Sellers on "Revenge of the Pink Panther"
03:31

Tom Smothers

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Ron Clark on writing for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
08:03
Ron Clark on working with Tom and Dick Smothers on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour  and the censorship the show faced
02:19

Dick Smothers

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Ron Clark on writing for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
08:03
Ron Clark on working with Tom and Dick Smothers on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour  and the censorship the show faced
02:19

Ed. Weinberger

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Ron Clark on working with Ed. Weinberger 
03:22

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